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Valerius Flaccus

Tim Stover

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online June 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0050
Valerius Flaccus

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Gaius Valerius Flaccus Setinus Balbus, usually known simply as Valerius Flaccus, is the author of the Argonautica, an unfinished epic poem in eight books composed during the Flavian era (69–96 ce). This poem recounts the famous mythical voyage of Jason and the Argonauts, who sail from Greece to Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece. The narrative is full of adventure, as the heroes put in at many strange places on their journey eastward. Upon arrival in Colchis, Jason meets Medea, a Colchian princess and sorceress who falls madly in love with him and helps him secure the fleece. Although the poem is unfinished, it seems that only a few hundred lines at the end of Book 8 and some relatively minor revisions were never completed, presumably because of the author’s untimely death. Direct references to him in Antiquity are virtually nonexistent, but Valerius’s poem influenced his contemporaries, the epic poets Statius and Silius Italicus. Although his work has attracted intermittent attention over the years, the late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen interest in Valerius’s Argonautica increase dramatically.

Article.  9677 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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